Growing Revenue by 192% During COVID-19: Sports eCommerce Case Study

Learn how we grew this sports eCommerce website’s organic search revenue by 192% during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Disclaimer: As a white label SEO agency, we keep the names of the websites we work on confidential to respect our partners.

Objective:

The objective for this campaign was to increase the number of sales by improving brand specific product pages ranking in Google’s search engine results. The client also wanted to adapt to new online shopping habits during the COVID pandemic and appear more visible and buyer friendly than the competition.

Website History:

A UK based eCommerce website selling sports equipment within a saturated market of big brands for competition.

The main issues holding the site back:

  1. Competing against big brands required us to be creative with our approach to improving visibility and authority for the website.
  2. The site had a lot of poor quality legacy backlinks along with inefficient internal linking implementation.
  3. Many important category pages were under-optimised and as a result, struggled to rank for important search terms.

The Strategy

Backlink Audit

The first step in our strategy was to conduct a thorough backlink audit to identify poor quality domains that were linking to the client. 

This was a priority as the client mentioned that their previous SEO agency had built many PBNs (private blog networks) with targeted (keyword-rich) anchors for a number of years. The use of PBNs was a popular and effective link building tactic in the prior to the 2020’s, but this is no longer as effective today as Google has become much better at identifying them.

In addition to PBNs, the client’s backlink profile also had poor quality backlinks from other irrelevant and/or questionable domains.

We therefore analysed the backlink profile with a fine tooth comb to identify these potentially harmful referring domains. Here are some the things to look out for:

  • Website Relevance – is the linking domain topically relevant to your website?
  • Organic Traffic – is the linking domain getting a minimum of 500 monthly organic visitors?
  • Keyword Visibility – is the linking domain ranking for lots of keywords within the top 10 and top 100 positions of Google?
  • Domain Authority – does the linking domain have a strong backlink profile itself?

Check out our article on identifying backlink quality for a more in-depth guide.

Once the questionable backlinks and referring domains are identified, the next step is to add them to the disavow file and upload it to Google Search Console.

Internal Linking Strategy

Apart from external links (when another website links to a page on your website), which you don’t have as much control over, Google also uses internal links (when you link from one page on your site to another) to find new pages. 

Internal links also help improve the search engine’s understanding of your site structure and identify which pages on your site are related.

internal linking

Our client’s internal linking strategy was extremely safe in terms of the anchor texts used to link towards important category, subcategory and product pages.  Unlike external links, Google is more lenient with anchor text distribution for internal links which means that you can be more aggressive with the number of anchors that are keyword rich.

Here’s a quick overview of anchor text types:

  • Keyword Rich – exact (or partial) match anchors for keywords that you want to rank for i.e. “baseball bats”, “check out our baseball bats”.
  • Generic – these are anchors like “see more”, “click here”
  • Branded – anchors that include your website or brand name
  • URL – anchors that include full or partial elements of a URL i.e. “example.com” or “www.example.com/footballs/”.

We carried out an internal link audit and replaced anchor texts that were generic or branded with more keyword rich anchors. This helps give Google more context as to how the two pages that are interlinked are related to each other.

Optimising Category Pages

The category pages on the client’s website contained very little information about the products that the online store offered. Our competitor analysis showed that the top ranking competing pages had included supplementary text on their category pages to offer more contextual insights about the listed products.

Here are some tips on what to look out when conducting competitor analysis:

  • What is the search intent of the page – is it to provide information or to convince users to perform an action like place an order? Add relevant content to satisfy the search intent of the page.
  • How much information is provided by the top ranking pages – do they go into a lot of detail or offer more of a summary?
  • Whether they have addressed any frequently asked questions – providing as much useful information as possible helps improve the experience as prospective customers do not have to contact you and can make a better, informed buying decision.
  • Look out for additional types of content i.e. the use of images, videos or other interactive elements that may help enhance the UX.

In addition to optimising the main body of the content, we also ensured that other on-page elements of the category pages were optimised for the primary keyword:

  • Page Title – should summarise what the page is about, be engaging and ideally include an exact match for the target keyword.

page title

  • H1 Heading – should also summarise the page’s contents and include the main keyword that you want to rank for.

h1 heading

  • Meta Description – this isn’t a ranking factor, but it’s your chance to include additional information about the page so that Google can display it in the search results page. Adding relevant terms and phrases that users may search for is recommended as Google often highlights these in bold.

meta description

Check out our chapter on on-page optimisation to learn more about how you can make sure your page titles, headings and meta descriptions are well optimised.

The Results

Based on the strategies highlighted above:

  • Daily search traffic grew by 185.5% from 940 to 2,684.

search traffic increase

  • The number of monthly transactions increased by 160.9% from 394 to 1,028.
  • Monthly revenue grew by 192% from £37,451 to £109,377.

monthly revenue increase

We achieved these results during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 when the UK (along with the the majority of the world) was in lockdown.

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